[ REVIEW ]

   
 
 
   
 

Sazen Tange and the Pot Worth a Million Ryo (1935)

(บรรยายอังกฤษ)

 

Directer: Sadao Yamanaka

Writter: Shintarô Mimura

Running time: 01:31:39

Country: Japan

Language: Japanese
Genre: Comedy

Subtitle: English
Starring: Denjirô Ôkôchi, Kiyozo and

Kunitaro Sawamura

 

ควรค่าน่าดูตรงที่นี่คือภาพยนตร์ญี่ปุ่นระดับตำนานของ ซาดาโอะ ยามานากะ ในปี1935 ถูกนำมารีมาสเตอร์ใหม่ พร้อมสเปเชียลฟีเจอร์ ฉากที่ถูกตัดทิ้งในยุคนั้น ที่หาดูไม่ได้

 

 

 

Storyline:

    The Yagyu family''s elder son sends an old and cheap looking pot to his young brother, ignoring that the pot contains a map showing where it was hidden a treasure of a million ryo. He tries to recover it but his brother''s wife has sold it to some junk dealers. Finally the pot ends up in Yasu''s hands, a kid whose father was killed although Tange Sazen was supposed to protect him from in his way to home, so Tange Sazen will look after Yasu.


Special Features:
- Unused scene
- Photo Gallery
- 2004 Remake trailer


Review:
    This rare classic tells of the one-eyed one-armed swordsman Tange Sazen. Tange leads an easy life as a guard of a archery shooting range. By a strange twist of fate, Sazen decides to care for an orphaned boy named Yasu who''d lost his father in a street fight. Sazen gets involved in a search of a Yagyu family treasure said to contain a map to a hidden treasure worth a million ryo.

   The most famous of several versions of this famous comic tale is the earliest of the three Sadao Yamanaka films to survive only Kochiyama Soshun and the previously discussed Humanity and Paper Balloons survive of his later work. Its undoubtedly the lightest of the three extant works, and seems more indicative, retrospectively, of the Japan of the mid thirties, the period when Ozu, Naruse, Uchida and, especially, Shimizu, were at the forefront of Japanese cinema. Sazen Tange may not have the dramatic intensity of Paper Balloons, but its a thoroughly enjoyable, richly entertaining piece for all that
 


An old legend tells of how a rich feudal lord buried hidden treasure underground and the only instructions on how to find it were in the form of a map on an otherwise worthless clay pot decorated by monkeys. One lord finds out this secret, but realises the pot, which had been in his possession, was passed to his brother to give to his future son-in-law on the occasion of their wedding. The lord takes steps to get a retainer to try and inveigle the pot back into his hands, but smelling a rat the brother beats the truth out of the retainer and finds that its potentially worth a million ryo. The problem is his young wife, who like him had thought it an insulting eyesore up until then, has sold it for a few mon to two junk dealers. They in turn give it to a small boy to keep his goldfish in. Then a one-armed and one-eyed samurai, Sazen Tange, is called in to look for it
 


Like Miyamoto Musashi, Sazen Tange has been played many times on film, not least by Yamanakas star, the kabuki trained Okichi, whose fifth interpretation this was of the character, with three more to follow (including a couple for silent master Daisuke Ito). He doesnt enter into proceedings until after the first act, but the film is so superbly paced, so intricately constructed that his introduction is as seamless as one could wish for, and the characterisation is absolutely sublime. Hes very much part of an ensemble.



The pot in question is the ultimate MacGuffin, a Japanese Maltese Falcon. The very notion of treasure maps and worthless items actually being worth a fortune the real Holy Grail, Aladdins lamp was not a new one in western legend, and coupled with the Japanese setting it makes for a wonderful situation for what is, amongst other things, an indictment of greed and a satire of what asses we make of ourselves where huge sums of money are involved. The pot in question always seems just out of reach, that eternal carrot dangled in front of the protagonists, keeping not so much them as the plot going forward, and occasionally round in amusingly ever decreasing circles. And like many Japanese films of the era think of both Ozu and Shimizu a child plays a pivotal role in proceedings, offering simple child logic that seems funny to bystanders (such as when he says that men need two eyes because otherwise the second lens in a pair of spectacles would be redundant), but it showcases the ridiculousness of the idiots around him.



 

The kid is not the only memorable characters, there are a pair of junk sellers who may just be Edos equivalent of Steptoe and Son, the lovely Kiyozo as the young girl the married Genzaburo enjoys fishing for goldfish and archery with. Well, I say archery, for in truth he is to archery what the St Trinians girls are to deportment. Theres a superb cowardly portrayal from Sawamura, and at the centre Okichi is splendidly grouchy, with his eye scar and one arm, groaning whenever he loses at the gambling hall. With this and Paper Balloons, its enough to showcase Yamanaka as one of the great forgotten masters not only of Japanese, but world cinema.
Wonders in the Dark



 

It''s tragic, it''s heartwarming, it''s action packed, it''s entertaining, and most importantly, it''s hilarious. The bumbling bodyguard, Sazen, has only one eye and one arm, obviously lost in a previous battle, and while he looks and acts like a monster, he never lets his masculine pride get in the way of being a good father. It''s really cute actually. The wonderful cast of characters keep the plot going, and the director Sadao Yamanaka, only 25 when he made this film, approaches it with a sense of innocence not often found in manly samurai films. It''s cute musical themes and delightfully sweet film sets help as well.



 

His contemporaries Yasujiro Ozu, Mizoguchi Kenji, and Mikio Naruse are all considered to be Japan''s elite film directors of the Silent Era and Golden Age of Japanese films. As seen through Yamanaka''s films, had he survived the war, no doubt he would have been remembered as one of Japan''s great film directors as well. To make the story even more tragic, of the twenty three films he directed, only 3 have survived to this day. I''ve got my hands on one, his final film shown before his departure, but the middle film is proving rather illusive.



 

And a quick little something about lead actor Denjiro Okochi who was trained in kabuki. He plays this role perfectly. He''s charming and brutal, but sensitive when he needs to be, creating Japan''s ideal image of a ronin. The actor would later star in several early Kurosawa films. Had he continued to use Denjiro Okochi along side Takashi Shimura and Toshiro Mifune, who knows where he might have stood in the history of cinema as well. Lots of "what if''s" revolve around this film.

A little long winded review for me, but I really really loved this movie. Please watch it if you get the chance!
10 Ten Short


 

 



Ҫ : 2044    [ ]
Ҿ¹ͧ㹻: classic: recommend



˹ѧ classicͧʹ..ͧ仴٫ԤѺ